Iain Couzin – CV

Download a PDF version of my CV here (updated October 2014)


Personal Details

Name: Iain Douglas Couzin Nationality: British


  • University of St. Andrews, UK Biology B.Sc. Hons. 1st class, 1996
  • University of Bath, Bath, UK Biology Ph.D., 1999
  • Balliol College, Oxford, UK Junior Research Fellow, M.A. (Oxon), 2003


  • Oct 2014 – present: Director, Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Department of Collective Behaviour, Konstanz, Germany
  • Feb 2015 – present: Chair of Biodiversity and Collective Behaviour, University of Konstanz, Konstanz, Germany
  • Feb 2013 – Jan 2015: Full Professor, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University, USA
  • Affiliated Faculty in Princeton Environmental Institute, Program in Applied and Computational Mathematics, Quantitative and Computational Biology, Princeton Institute for Computational Science and Engineering.
  • Nov 2007 – Jan 2013: Assistant Professor, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University, USA
  • 2005 – 2007: Royal Society University Research Fellow, Dept. of Zoology, University of Oxford, UK
  • 2003 – 2006: Junior Research Fellow in the Sciences, Balliol College, University of Oxford, UK
  • University of Oxford, Oxford, UK, Zoology & Math. Biol. 2002 – 2005
  • Princeton University, Princeton, USA Pew Biocomplexity Fellow 2002 – 2005
  • University of Leeds, Leeds, UK Postdoctoral researcher 2000 – 2002


  • 2013 The Zoological Society of London Scientific Medal
  • 2012 National Geographic’s Emerging Explorer Award
  • 2012 Top 5 most cited articles of the decade (1999-2010), Lab Times publication analysis of Animal Behavior Research, Europe (http://www.labtimes.org/)
  • 2011 PopTech Science and Public Leadership Award
  • 2010 Popular Science Magazine’s ‘Brilliant 10’ Award
  • 2009 The Mohammed Dahleh Award, UC Santa Barbara
  • 2008 Searle Scholar Award (‘for outstanding individuals in medicine, chemistry and the biological sciences’, $300,000)
  • 2005 Royal Society University Research Fellowship
  • 2003 Junior Research Fellowship in the Sciences, Balliol College, Oxford




  • The Kwanghil Koh Lecture on Mathematics in Our Time, College of Sciences, NC State University
  • Plenary Speaker, International Max Planck Research School for Organismal Biology, Grand Challenges Symposium, Konstanz, Germany
  • Plenary Speaker, The Joint Annual Meeting of the Society of Mathematical Biology and the Japanese Society for Mathematical Biology, Osaka, Japan
  • Keynote Address, 13th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems, Paris, France
  • The Institute of Science and Technology (IST) Distinguished Lecturer Series,  Austria
  • Interdisciplinary Distinguished Seminar, Federal Laboratory for Analytical Sciences and the Army Research Office, NC, USA
  • Public Lecture and Keynote, Courant Research Center Symposium “Evolution of Social Behavior”, University of Göttingen, Germany
  • Plenary Speaker, Interaction Networks and Collective Motion in Swarms, Flocks and Crowds, Helsinki, Finland
  • Plenary Speaker,  Animal Behavior Society Meeting, Princeton, USA


  • Benjamin Meaker Visiting Professorship, Institute for Advanced Studies, University of Bristol
  • BBC World Service & Wellcome Collection, “Exchanges at the Frontier, with Iain Couzin” London, broadcast on BBC World Service
  • Public Lecture, Institute for Advanced Studies and Worldwide Universities Network, Bristol.
  • Plenary Speaker, Behaviour 2013, Newcastle, UK
  • Plenary Speaker,  Animal Movement in Confined Space, University of Bristol, UK
  • Center for Immunity, Infection and Evolution Visiting Professor, University of Edinburgh
  • Howard Hughes Medical Research Institute, “Pathbreaking careers in science”
  • Keynote Address, Israel Society of Ecology and Environmental Sciences
  • The Jacob Marschak Speaker, UCLA Anderson School of Management


  • The Murray Visiting Professorship, University of Sydney,  Australia
  • Bernard Rothenberg Lecturer in Biology and Public Policy, PA
  • von Neumann Public Lecture, Institute for Discovery, University of Wisconsin Madison
  • National Geographic Live! Discussion between Nobel Laureate Mario Molina and National Geographic Explorer Iain D. Couzin
  • Keynote Address, Max Planck Symposium on Biodiversity, Berlin
  • N.J. Brainpower List
  • Public Lecture, Harvard Museum of Natural History
  • Keynote Address, NVIDIA GPU Technology Conference, San Jose
  • Visiting Professor, Tel Aviv University
  • Forum Speaker,  Aspen Environment Forum, Aspen, Colorado
  • Keynote Address, NetSci 2012, Northwestern University
  • Plenary Lecture, Collective Intelligence 2012, MIT, Boston


  • The Prosser Lecture, Dartmouth College
  • The Blundon Lecture, Nova Scotia
  • The Storer Lecture, UC Davis
  • BigThink Delphi Fellow
  • Plenary Lecture, Mathematical Biosciences Institute, Ohio State University
  • The Santa Fe Community Lecture, James A. Little Theatre, Santa Fe


  • Public Lecture, Center for Science and Industry IMAX Theatre, Columbus, OH; Distinguished Lecturer, Pacific Institute for Mathematical Sciences
  • Plenary Address, International Union for the Study of Social Insects (IUSSI), Copenhagen
  • Keynote Address, Forum for the Future of Complex Systems, UNC, Charlotte Distinguished Speaker, Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences and Center for Scientific Computing, Canada


  • Mohammed Dahleh Distinguished Lecture, UC Santa Barbara
  • Top 10 most cited articles in 2009 (5th), Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. Lond. B
  • Member of the Faculty of 1000 Biology


  • The Marsden Lecture, McGill University, Canada
  • World Science Festival, NYC
  • Keynote Lecture, ‘Formation flying, missions and technologies’, European Space Agency


  • Plenary speaker, International Conference on Complex Systems, Boston
  • Plenary speaker, Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) Dynamics, Snowbird, Utah
  • Plenary speaker, Dynamics Days, Boston


  • Fellow of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research, University of Bielefeld

Additional Invited Seminars and Lectures (from 2007)


  • Interdisciplinary Center for Life Sciences and Engineering Seminar, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology
  • Department of Biology Seminar, Bar Ilan University, Israel
  • 6th SIDEER Symposium, Exploring Real World Networks, From Genes to Ecosystems, Sede Boqer Campus of Ben Gurion University, Israel
  • Shalom Applebaum Memorial Lecture, The Hebrew University, Rehovot, Israel
  • Departmental Seminar, Department of Evolution, Systematics and Ecology, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel


  • Invited speaker, Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft Spring Meeting, Regensburg
  • Biophysics seminar, MIT
  • Graduate Student Invited Speaker, Department of Ecology and Evoilutionary Biology, Cornell.
  • Graduate Student Invited Speaker,  Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, Cornell.
  • Google Science Fair
  • Complexity Group Seminar, Stanford University
  • Office of Naval Research, Science of Autonomy Meeting
  • Center for Immunity, Infection and Evolution Special Seminar, University of Edinburgh
  • Batsheva de Rothschild Seminar on Marine Life in the Flow, Eilat, Israel
  • Organizer,  Animal Swarms Workshop, Israel
  • Graduate student invited speaker, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona
  • Biocomplexity seminar, Stanford University


  • Science magazine Live Chat, The Science of Decision-Making
  • Society for Social Neuroscience Annual Meeting, New Orleans
  • Sensory Coding and the natural Environment, IST Austria
  • Center for Studies of Physics and Biology,  The Rockefeller University
  • Champalimaud Foundation Ar Event, Lisbon
  • Neuroscience Seminar, Champalimaud Center for the Unknown, Lisbon, Portugal
  • Departmental Seminar, Biology, Texas A&M
  • Departmental Seminar, School of Biological Sciences, UT Austin
  • Princeton Institute In Computational Science and Engineering Conference
  • Graduate Student Invited Speaker, School of Biological Sciences, UC Irvine
  • Department of Neuroscience, UC Irvine
  • School of Biological Sciences, University of Sydney
  • Department of Mathematics, University of Pittsburgh


  • Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology Seminar, Harvard University
  • Department of Psychology Seminar, Harvard University
  • PopTech Conference, Maine
  • Undergraduate Invited Speaker, Dept. of Biochemistry, University of Pennsylvania
  • Graduate Student Invited Speaker, Tufts University
  • Graduate Student Invited Speaker, University of Florida
  • Plenary Speaker, Insect self-organization and swarming, Math. Biosci. Institute, Ohio State University
  • Graduate Student Annual Invited Speaker, University of Florida
  • Woods Hole Marine Biology Laboratory, Woods Hole
  • Institute of Evolution, University of Haifa, Israel
  • Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Behavior, Michigan State University
  • City University of New York, New York
  • Ernst Strungmann Forum, Frankfurt institute for Advanced Studies


  • Microbes to Metazoans: Evolution of Social Behavior, Georgia Tech, 2010
  • Workshop in Honor of Danny Cohen’s 80th Birthday, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem
  • BIOCOMPLEXITY XI, The evolution of cooperation, Bloomington, Indiana
  • EVOS Seminar, Bingamton University
  • Department of Biology, Tel Aviv University
  • Department of Physics, University of Maryland
  • Lecturer, Complex Systems Summer School, Santa Fe
  • Workshop on Nonlinear Dynamics of Networks, University of Maryland
  • Workshop on Group Behavior, University of Arizona
  • Disease in Motion, Princeton University
  • Swarm Workshop, Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Living Systems, Dresden


  • Applied Mathematics Colloquium, Cornell University
  • Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University
  • DARPA Microsystems Technology Office Seminar, San Jose
  • Sloan-Schwartz Annual Meeting on Computational Neuroscience, Harvard University
  • Invitational speech, Board of National Institute of General Medical Sciences, Bethesda
  • Ecology Seminar, University of Pennsylvania
  • Workshop on Soft Active Materials, Syracuse University
  • Collective Decision Making Workshop, Santa Fe Institute, Santa Fe
  • Department of Neurobiology, Weizmann Institute, Israel


  • Session Leader, Collective Animal Motion, Gordon Research Conference on Theoretical Biology and Biomathematics, Italy
  • NSF Workshop on Complex Systems, Washington DC
  • Renaissance Technologies Colloquium, Long Island, NY
  • NIH Modeling Social Behavior, Bethesda, MD
  • Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, Princeton, NJ


  • Divisional seminar, Division of Biology, Caltech
  • Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Institute for Genomics and Systems Biology, University of Chicago
  • Centre for Integrative Multiscale Modeling & Control and Dynamical Systems, Caltech
  • Department of Biosciences, Birmingham University, UK
  • AAAS Meeting, San Francisco
  • Speaker, BIOCOMP, Italy
  • Departmental Seminar, Mechanical Engineering, MIT

Scientific Service

  • Review Editor, eLife (Sept 2014 – )
  • Scientific Advisory Board, Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics, UCLA (2014 – present)
  • Editor, Movement Ecology (2012 – )
  • Editor, Behavioral Ecology (until mid-2011)
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Nonlinear Science
  • Associate Editor, Advances in Complex Systems
  • Editorial Board, Swarm Intelligence
  • Guest Editor, PLoS Computational Biology
  • Guest Editor, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA (PNAS)
  • Founding Advisory Board Member, National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS). University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
  • Scientific Management Board / International Advisory Board, “Complex agent-based dynamic networks” research group at the University of Oxford (until 2012)
  • Advisory Board. Terreform ONE, Ecological Design Group for Urban Infrastructure, Planning and Art.
  • Scientific Advisory Board, Lifeboat Foundation
  • Advisor, Harvard Business Review and the World Economic Forum, Manhattan, 2008
  • Advisor, Seed Business Group and the World Economic Forum, Cambridge, MA, 2008
  • Advisor to the NSF bio-directorate on systems biology, 2007
  • Adviser to the Department of Trade and Industry on ‘intelligent infrastructure’ (invited by Sir David King, Chief Scientific Advisor to H.M. Government), 2004

Scientific Service (Outreach Activities)

  • Science magazine Live Chat, The Science of Decision-Making, 2012
  • The Secret Science Club, The Bell House, Brooklyn, 2011
  • PopTech, 2011 http://poptech.org/popcasts/iain_couzin_collective_behavior
  • The OpenSwarm Initiative: to introduce collective behavior and pattern formation in nature to the public, and students across disciplines, through art, robotics and biology, from 2010
  • Metro High School, Columbus OH, Introducing the OpenSwarm Initiative
  • RadioLab’s AWE-MAGEDDON Curiosity Cabaret, Manhattan, NYC, 2010
  • http://www.wnyc.org/thegreenespace/events/2010/apr/14/radiolabs-awe-maggeddon/
  • The Secret Science Club, Brooklyn, NYC, 2010
  • BigThink Interview, 2010
  • World Science Festival, Manhattan, NYC: “Traffic, from insects to interstates” panelist with Mitchell Joachim and Anna Nagurney, moderated by Robert Krulwich, 2009
  • Edge.org “Interview with Iain Couzin” selected for Harper Collins Book “Best of Edge”, 2009
  • Science on Saturday, for middle- and high-school students, 2008
  • Plenary speaker at the International IdeaFestival, Kentucky
  • Featured in, “Cool Careers in Science”, Sally Ride Science (for upper elementary and middle school) and one of 5 scientists featured in “Social Lives of Animals” by Scholastic (for ages 7-9)
  • AimHigher Masterclasses at Newcastle United’s “St. James Park” and Sunderland F.C.’s “The Stadium of Light”: to raise aspirations, awareness and attainment of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, under-represented groups and people with disabilities, 2005


  • Sensory Networks and Collective Information Processing in Animal Groups (PI)
  • Agency: National Science Foundation Award: $325,000
  • Duration: 02/01/2014 – 02/01/2017
  • Bio-inspired scalable collaboration of autonomous vehicles that sense, learn and decide (Co-PI with Naomi Leonard, Princeton and Fumin Zhang, Georgia Institute of Technology.
  • Agency: Office of Naval Research Award: $2,225,000
  • Duration: 07/01/2014-6/30/2018
  • Robustness and Adaptability in Collective Behavior (Co-PI with Simon Levin and Naomi Leonard)
  • Agency: Army Research Office Award: $360,000
  • Duration: 07/01/2014-6/30/2017
  • Information processing and computation in fish groups (co-PI with Gasper Tkacik, Austria and Elad Schneidman, Weizmann Institute, Israel)
  • Agency: Human Frontiers Science Program Award: $1,049,400
  • Duration: 05/01/2012 – 04/31/2015
  • CNH: Social-ecological complexity and adaptation in marine systems (Co-PI with Simon A. Levin), Agency: National Science Foundation Award: $1,498,903
  • Duration: From 10/01/2012 – 10/01/2016
  • The Perceptual Basis for Collective Behavior in a Model Vertebrate (PI; Co-PI is Esteban Fernandez-Juricic, Purdue University)
  • Agency: National Science Foundation
  • Duration: From 10/01/2012 – 10/01/2013Award: $180,000
  • A Platform for Data-Parallel GPU Computing at Princeton (Co-PI with David August, James Stone and Jeroen Tromp),
  • Agency: National Science Foundation
  • Duration: from 10/01/2012 Award $350,000
  • Experimental and Theoretical Analysis of Collective Dynamics of Swarming Systems (PI)
  • Agency: National Science Foundation (NSF)
  • Duration: 09/03/2009 – 09/30/2013 Award: $543,472
  • Coordination and collective decision-making (co-PI with Simon A. Levin and Naomi E. Leonard)
  • Agency: Army Research Office
  • Duration: 08/17/2011 – 06/16/2013 Award: $420,326
  • Bio-Inspired Autonomous Control for Optimal Exploration and Exploitation in Marine Environments (Co-PI with Naomi Leonard, Princeton University, and Fumin Zhang, Georgia Tech)
  • Agency: Office of Naval Research (ONR)
  • Duration: 06/01/2009 – 05/31/2014 Award: $3,000,000
  • Collective Behavior and Social Transmission of Information in Human Crowds (PI)
  • Agency: Oxford Risk Research and Analyses Ltd.
  • Duration: 09/15/2010 – 09/14/2012 Award: $174,863
  • Collective Motion and Decision-Making in Animal Groups (PI)
  • Agency: Kinship Foundation, Searle Scholars Program
  • Duration: 07/01/2008 – 06/30/2011 Award: $300,000

Selected media attention

  • (2014) Feature article by Michael Brooks, “Mind Meld: The Genius of Swarm Thinking”, New Scientist magazine
  • (2013) Feature article by Ed Yong:  “As one: the science of swarms” WIRED magazine
  • (2013) Front cover article by Christina Luiggi “Crowd Control” in The Scientist magazine
  • (2013) National Geographic, “The real wisdom of crowds”
  • (2013) New Scientist, “Swarm-mongering: Brainless blobs flock together”
  • (2012) New York Times, SundayReview, ‘Walk like a fish’
  • (2012) National Geographic, ‘Can we control other peoples minds? Should we?’
  • (2012) Discover, ‘To work out why fish swim together, tempt a predator with virtual prey’
  • (2012) NPR, ‘Swarming up a storm: why animals school and flock’
  • (2012) The Economist, ‘The benefits of schooling’
  • (2012) The Telegraph India, ‘Fish spill group secret on video game’
  • (2012) BBC News, ‘Fish play video game in new behaviour study’
  • (2012) Wired, ‘Predatory fish play video game to answer evolutionary quandry’
  • (2012) Wall Street Journal, ‘Chips not just for gamers anymore’
  • (2012) National Geographic Magazine, Emerging Explorers Award
  • (2012) CNN, ‘In Mauritania: sunny with a chance of locusts’
  • (2011) BBC, Interviewed in ‘The Code’ BBC2, predicting human crowds
  • (2011) TIME, ‘America votes with the fishes’
  • (2011) Wall Street Journal, ‘A fishy study of uninformed voters?’
  • (2011) Brunei Times, ‘Minnows reveal true power of the ‘uninformed’’
  • (2011) Wired, ‘How ignorance could improve group decisions’
  • (2011) BBC News, ‘Disinterested ‘key in democracy’’
  • (2011) Miller-McCune, ‘Why a democracy needs uninformed people’
  • (2011) ScienceNews, ‘Uncommitted newbies can foil forceful few’
  • (2011) Chronicle of Higher Education, ‘Study of fish suggests the value of uninformed voters’
  • (2011) Australian Broadcasting Corporation, ‘Minnows reveal power of the uninformed’
  • (2011) MSNBC.com, ‘Can ignorance make a better democracy? In fish it can…’
  • (2011) The Daily Mail, ‘Vote for apathy?’
  • (2011) The Economist, “Collective behavior: Follow my leader”
  • (2011) ScienceNews, ‘School rules’
  • (2010) New York Times, Environment, “On the migratory trail, leaders and followers”
  • (2010) Popular Science Magazine, Featured as one of the ‘Brilliant 10’
  • (2010) Wired Science, “How mass migration might have evolved”
  • (2010) Wired News, “Math is no match for locust swarms”
  • (2010) ScienceDaily, “Introducing robofish: leading the crowd in studying group dynamics”
  • (2010) Welt, “Roboterfisch führt schwärme”
  • (2010) Slashdot, “’Robotfish’ schools the rest”
  • (2010) SETI Radio, “Swarm in here … or is it just me?”
  • (2010) Big Think, Interview with Iain Couzin: http://bigthink.com/IainCouzin
  • (2010) ScienceNews, “Swarming locusts impossible to predict”
  • (2009) Science Illustrated (front cover article ‘Swarm!’)
  • (2009) ABC News, Interviewed on ‘Good Morning America’
  • (2009) “On My Mind” by Iain Couzin, SEED Magazine.
  • (2009) “Traffic: From insects to interstates”, World Science Festival, New York City
  • (2008) BBC News, “Cannibal theory for locust swarms”
  • (2008) Channel 4 (UK) News, “Locusts driven by cannibalism”
  • (2008) Nature News, “Cannibalism drives locust swarms”
  • (2008) New Scientist, “The hunger the horror”.
  • (2008) The Economic Times, “Cannibalism drives vast locust swarms”
  • (2008) Der Spiegel feature article “Schlauer im swarm”
  • (2008) Science Daily “What’s bugging locusts?”
  • (2008) “Traffic” by Tom Vanderbildt, Random House Press (Chapter 4: Meet the World’s Best Commuter: What We Can Learn From Ants, Locust and Crickets).
  • (2008) “Nature’s Patterns: Flow” by Philip Ball, Oxford University Press (Chapter 5: Follow Your Neighbor: Flocks, Swarms and Crowds).
  • (2008) National Public Radio, “The physics of fish”
  • (2008) WNYC, The Brian Lehrer Show
  • (2007) New York Times, feature on my research by Carl Zimmer “From ants to people, an instinct to swarm”, Science Times front cover

Television credits (IMDB)

  • (2010) National geographic, Great Migrations:
  • – Feast or Famine, scientific consultant
  • – Race to Survive, scientific consultant
  • – Need to Breed, scientific consultant
  • (2009) BBC, Swarm: Nature’s Incredible Invasions:
  • – One Million Heads one Beautiful Mind, scientific consultant
  • – When Worlds Collide, scientific consultant
  • (2004) BBC, Massive Nature:
  • – The Trap, scientific consultant.
  • (2000) BBC, Predators: Mass Attack, scientific consultant and simulation developer